"Yes, that's what I drive. I make four bucks an hour, I've been saving up for three hundred and fifty years."
Joey and Monica think he's joking. Well, Joey thinks he's joking. Monica doesn't think a single thing about him. Joey and Monica wouldn't understand the complexity of Gunther's existence even if he had the energy to explain it to him. But it's true. He really has been saving up for three hundred and fifty years.
But not for a Porsche. No, Gunther's saving up for something much more important. He's saving up for Rachel, sitting a few feet and twisting her hair and grinning at her friends and hardly ever looking his way.
Not like that, of course. Gunther's actually really glad that that whole buying people and stealing people and taking them away under the hill and tricking them into eating things phase is kind of over. Well, mostly, anyway. There are still a few people over in Jersey who won't quit.
But Gunther's saving up—has been saving up for as long as he's been on this side—because he knows someday some Rachel will look back at him and finally see what's really there.
And okay, so Gunther's an elf. That should be obvious by now. He really only started dying his hair to draw attention away from the ears. But it's gotten so that now he kind of likes it.
But yeah, so he's an elf. Or a faerie or whatever you want to call them, that's what he is. He doesn't like to think about the fight that led to him being banished to the human world, but once he got there, it wasn't so bad. New York was different back then, and he likes it better now than he did then, though he doesn't really like to think about the '80s either.
Nobody's ever suspected, either. Not that Gunther knows of, anyway. He guesses that's what happens when you stand in the background and work the espresso machine and only get invited to the parties of people who don't know your last name, or rather, don't know that you don't have one.
Sometimes he thinks Phoebe might have some sort of inkling, there under all the other impossible things bursting out of her head and her mouth. Sometimes he even thinks Phoebe might have a bit of fey in her. She's got the look. But he never gets close enough to find out.
But who knows or doesn't know, that's not the important part. And the coffee shop and that stint on All My Children and the tiny room in a buzzing apartment uptown, they don't matter either.
The important part is Rachel.
The important part is that, every hundred years or so, another Rachel Green shows up. She always looks different, but her name is always Rachel. And Gunther always loves her.
The first was Rachel Adams, tough and hardy as the new world she was dropped into, an enterprising father's burden and Gunther's boon. He spoke to her twice in the forest as she gathered kindling, him still too new then to think of walking in a place not covered by trees, and too soon she was packed off to Philadelphia and marriage.
Then there was Rachel Monroe, dainty and witty and sharp, trading barbs with Romantics and those who felt sure they were enlightened, and with Gunther too, when his collar was stiff and his hands still and his voice surer. He had been almost sure she would be the one for just a moment, one cotillion, one smile until her eyes fell away from him and onto another.
And then Rachel Harris, who taught the first grade, who drank milk with her tea and who liked Gunther to read her back her lesson plans for the day, whose lips turned up and who patted his shoulder and who saw him least of all of them.
And now this one, with her fashionable slacks and her dreams and her shifting curtain of hair and the way she loves a man who's not good enough for her but who's a man who's not Gunther.
But Gunther tries not to let it bother him. He knows that one of these days, one of these years, one of these Rachels, she's going to love him back.
A/N: Heyo! Couldn't not write this after the thought that of course Gunther is an elf popped into my head while watching this episode (The One with Joey's Porsche). I'm aware that the historical bits are probably far from accurate, but I honestly don't care.